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Bathrooms typically don’t have large windows (or any windows at all), so the lighting in this room is extremely important. Without appropriate lighting in your bathroom, you might feel like you’re bathing in a cave—and that’s not anyone’s idea of relaxing.
There are many different styles of bathroom lights, including both wall- and ceiling-mounted options. You can even find lighted mirrors and smart lights, which let you adjust their hue for personal grooming and makeup application. Plus, bathroom lights are available in all decor styles, from traditional to farmhouse and everything in between.
Here is the best lighting for bathrooms to brighten up your space and what to look for when considering a fixture.
Best Overall: Progress Lighting 3-Light Antique Bronze Bathroom Vanity Light
For a classic and reasonably priced bathroom light, you can’t go wrong with this vanity light from Progress Lighting. The fixture is 24 inches long with three individual lights, and it can be mounted so the shades are facing up or down, depending on your preference. Plus, the light comes in both antique bronze and brushed nickel finishes to match your bathroom decor.
This light fixture meets UL listing quality and safety standards for use in damp spaces, and it requires three 100-watt medium base bulbs, which are not included. It comes with installation hardware, and what’s nice is that the large backplate will hide wall imperfections—always handy if you're installing it yourself.
Best Budget: JoosenHouse LED Vanity Light
Lighting fixtures are notoriously expensive, but you can brighten up your bathroom on a budget with this vanity light from JoosenHouse. The simple design comes in several sizes, ranging from 15.7 inches to 31.5 inches in length, and it has an integrated LED bulb that will light up your space in a crisp white light while keeping electricity costs to a minimum.
The light has a sleek modern design, featuring a silver backplate that supports two white tubes on either side. The smallest option produces 560 lumens of light, and the brightness goes up with each size, allowing you to find the right level of illumination for your space. Plus, you can opt to mount the fixtures horizontally over your mirror or vertically on either side, similar to sconces.
Best LED: Pottery Barn Valburg Vanity Light
There are numerous benefits to LED lights, including that the bulbs last for years and use significantly less energy than comparable halogen bulbs. If you want an LED light for your bathroom, the Valburg Vanity Light is a stylish and versatile choice. The sleek bar-style light comes in seven sizes, ranging from 19 inches to a whopping 97 inches long, and you can choose between a brushed aluminum or white finish for the fixture.
These LED lights can be mounted horizontally or vertically, and they’re compatible with dimmer switches, as well. The light’s output depends on which size you choose, but even the smallest light produces 1,268 lumens. Plus, there’s no need to worry about having to replace the lights any time soon, as the lifespan of the bulbs is estimated to be 54,000 hours.
Best Sconces: Birch Lane Keener Armed Sconce
Instead of having one large vanity light above your bathroom mirror, a popular alternative is to have sconces mounted on either side of it. The Keener Armed Sconces are a stylish option for any bathroom, as they come in five metallic finishes and can be mounted facing up or down, depending on your preference.
These contemporary sconces feature a clear bell-shaped glass shade that houses a 60-watt light bulb (not included). The shade is supported by a straight metal arm, and the fixtures are compatible with dimmer switches, allowing you to adjust their intensity as needed.
Best Flush Mount: Good Earth Lighting Jordan LED Flush Mount
If your bathroom has a ceiling fixture, the Jordan LED Flush Mount is the perfect choice for the space. This simple light comes in three sizes—11, 14, or 17 inches in diameter—and it features an attractive satin nickel or bronze finish that will match just about any decor style.
The ceiling light is safe to use in damp locations, and it comes with an integrated LED bulb that gives off 1,100 lumens. The fixture’s glass shade creates a soft white light in your bathroom, and the product is compatible with most Triac wall dimmers, as well.
Best Bath Bar: Ebern Designs Jamestown LED Bath Bar
Bath bars have a sleek modern design that’s ideal for a contemporary space, and you’re sure to receive compliments on the Jamestown LED Bath Bar. This fixture is 36 inches long, and it has a modern metallic strip that runs the length of the frosted glass shade for a futuristic appearance.
You can choose between brushed nickel or polished chrome finishes for this fixture, and it’s every bit as functional as it is pretty, producing more than 3,000 lumens of light. It can be mounted horizontally, vertically, or even down from the ceiling, and its integrated LED bulb will last up to 50,000 hours.
Best Vanity: Three Posts Averi 3-Light Dimmable Vanity Light
Vanity lights are a popular choice for bathrooms, and the Averi Dimmable Vanity Light is a top-rated option in this category thanks to its attractive design and versatility. It features three lights with transparent glass shades, and it has a horizontal accent piece on its black metal arm for a bit of added flair.
This vanity light can be installed with its shades facing up or down, and it’s compatible with any 60-watt standard light bulb. The fixture is damp-rated, making it safe to use in a humid bathroom, and you can even have it wired into a dimmer switch for even more control.
Best Mirror: Kinwell Frameless Rectangular LED Light Bathroom Vanity Mirror
Can’t find any light fixtures that you like? Instead of installing a vanity light, you can just get a lighted mirror like this one from Kinwell. The cool design features a built-in LED light strip around the edges, and it even has controls that allow you to dim it as low as 20 percent, as well as change the warmth of the light.
The lighted mirror comes in several sizes to suit your bathroom, and it can be wired into a wall switch if you choose. However, there are touch controls on the mirror, as well, for quick adjustments. It even has anti-fog technology that keeps the mirror clear after your hottest shower—really, what more could you ask for?
Best with Exhaust Fan: Broan-NuTone 80 CFM Bathroom Exhaust Fan with LED Light, Round Flat Panel
Exhaust fans are installed in many bathrooms to help remove excess moisture that might otherwise harm your walls and ceiling, and the Broan-NuTone 80 CFM Bathroom Exhaust Fan also has a built-in LED light, allowing it to serve multiple purposes in your home. This fan is designed to operate quietly, and it can provide 80 cubic feet per minute of air movement.
In addition to its powerful fan, this product has an integrated LED light with a simple circular design, and the fan and light can be wired to operate together or independently. However, keep in mind that while this exhaust fan can be used in the bathroom, it should not be installed directly over a shower or bathtub.
Our top pick is Progress Lighting's 3-Light Antique Bronze Bathroom Vanity Light (view at Home Depot). We love that it comes in different finishes to match your decor, the lights can be faced up or down, and its backplate is large enough to cover any wall imperfections. Of course, if you're looking for something more budget-friendly, you can't go wrong with the JoosenHouse LED Vanity Light (view at Amazon). It comes in various sizes, and its LED bulb will help you save on electricity costs.
What to Look for in a Bathroom Light
When shopping for bathroom light fixtures, it’s important to check that the product is UL Listed for use in damp or wet locations. This means that the product has undergone testing by a third-party organization called Underwriters Laboratories, which deemed the light safe to use in damp or wet areas. Because bathrooms can get quite humid, it’s important to select fixtures that can withstand this high moisture content.
As you compare light fixtures, you’ll want to consider how much light they’ll create in your bathroom. If a light has an integrated LED bulb, check how many lumens it puts off—in general, you’ll want around 7,000 lumens in a medium-sized bathroom. If you’re buying a light without light bulbs, look at how many bulbs it holds and the maximum wattage per bulb.
Some bathroom lights include useful features, such as compatibility with dimmer switches or the ability to adjust their light temperature. There are even smart lights available that can be controlled from your phone. Just keep in mind that these features often drive up the price of lights, so you’ll want to make sure you’re paying for functionality that you’ll actually use.
How do you clean bathroom light fixtures?
Cleaning bathroom light fixtures is much like cleaning any other light fixture—regular cleaning means you'll only need to do a deep clean once or twice a year. However, all the moisture and movement in bathrooms (especially in such a small space) means that dust can build up quickly. So it's important to give your bathroom lights a quick dust weekly to prevent the build up of grime and dirt. Aside from this, take off your light fixtures every 6 months and wash the fixtures (not the lightbulbs) with soapy water. Let them dry, then reinstall.
How do you prevent bathroom light fixtures from rusting?
Rust in the bathroom is a common problem, thanks to the build-up of minerals that hard water leaves behind. And with all the moisture that can occur in bathrooms, it's no surprise that light fixtures can rust, too. Thankfully, there's an easy solution to this problem: To prevent rust on bathroom lights entirely, make sure your lights are made up of materials that won't rust easily, like brass, copper or stainless steel.
How do you replace bathroom light fixtures?
Depending on how your bathroom light is mounted, there are different ways to replace it. To replace a ceiling-mounted light, you'll need to remove the old light, prepare the new one for installation, connect the wires and finally, install the new light. The process for installing a wall-mounted light is much the same, except that you'll install a mounting bracket to support the upright light.
Why Trust The Spruce
Camryn Rabideau is an experienced freelance writer and has been contributing to The Spruce since 2017. She has covered all things home for many publications including, Martha Stewart, InStyle, and Food52. Additional reporting was done by Rabekah Henderson, a freelance design and decor writer whose work has appeared on MyDomaine, Atomic Ranch, Cary Magazine and American Farmhouse Style.